When I decided to take Ukraine to my route, I had already read some travel reports from other cycle tourers and their experiences through Ukraine. My intention was to cycle through the carpathian mountains, not in Romania like most of the people do, but in the country which offers a even bigger contrast from a cultural point of view. Although I cycled Ukraine, my experiences only cover a small part of the country, the south-western region. Regarding the area, Ukraine is the biggest country in European soil and I only cycled through 3 of 15 districts.
My first look at Ukraine was at the border stone in Lekárovce at an alleged border crossing, which of course, was not! I was counting too much on the Maps.Me Navigation, which lead me to this point. So instead of crossing the border into Ukraine, I had to explain myself to the Slovak border-patrol, which appeared after only a few minutes.
Instead of cycling north the last 5km to Uzghorod, it ended with a 30km detour towards south. This way a 105km leg turned into a 135km day and as a reward there was a strong headwind from the south. Arrived at the „official“ border crossing, it were the custom officers which helped to improve my bad mood.
As I asked the Slovak officer „can I pass?!“, he nodded, so I walked by, followed by a loud „PASSPORT!“. The Ukrainian officer however looked out of the window down to my bicycle and asked „from Switzerland to Ukraine with bicycle? NO!!“. When I smiled and answered with „yes“, he shook his head, said „Crazy..Crazy!“ And stamped my passport.
In Uzghorod I unloaded my bike and luggage at the hostel, went to the nearest Pizzeria and treated myself with a 40cm Pizza and a big beer, which was exactly what I needed at this time. After I demanded the bill and paid a total of 4.50.- Euros, I definitely knew I arrived in a new country.
Uzghorod was a rather small city with many young people, a pulsating market hall, diverse little coffee places and restaurants so as a busy but green riverside. In Uzhorod I took a day off to recover my tired legs, do some writing for the blog and to explore the city, taking some pictures and videos.[/penci_text_block][/vc_column][/vc_row]